Using Real Time Data to Improve Student Learning

Anyone who is involved in education know that there is an increasing emphasis on accountability and data.  More and more evaluation documents require both teachers and schools to show definitively and tangibly that the students have met learning goals.Yet for the classroom teacher this isn’t anything new.  What teacher isn’t taking steps to find and address areas of need in their classroom?  In the past this has taken the form of polling the class, exit slips and pop quizzes.  Typically the teacher collects these after class and then compiles the data for each class.  When everything works out as planned the teacher returns the next day with an idea of what needs to be clarified and who needs remediation.  The downside is sifting that information and finding meaning in it often takes a long time, sometimes more than just one day and might get pushed back a day or two. By the time the information is sorted the class may have moved on and clarifying and remediating means stopping the flow of the current lesson to reach back.  That is, if the information was accurate.  One of the most frustrating parts of this process is getting smiles and nodding heads when we ask the class if they understand, only to find out later that their understanding was shaky at best.
This year I started using Socrative,  a free assessment Ap for mobile devices, in this role.Using the Teacher Ap. a teacher registers and creates a “Room”.  Students need only open the Student Ap and enter the room number provided by the teacher.

The teacher has the option of controlling the pace of the quiz or allowing students to work at their own pace.

Regardless of which method the teacher chooses they can monitor the progress of each student as they complete the quiz.  The teacher portal will show you what question each student is on and how many questions they answered correctly and incorrectly.

I have used this to check on students who might be struggling with the format or wording of questions and to check in on students who seem to be working slower than usual.  For objective questions, students receive immediate feedback on their answers.  It is also possible to add short answer questions to the quiz in order to look for deeper understanding.
When the students have completed the assessment the teacher has the option of  either emailing of downloading the results.

The results are generated in the form of a spreadsheet.  This makes it simple to aggregate the data over time, both with pre and post tests in each unit and in tracking learning objectives over the course of the year. The results are also color coded with correct answers appearing in red and correct answers appearing in green.  This was fantastic in class for processing results quickly and modifying lessons accordingly.

Within seconds of finishing the quiz in class :

  • The students have received feedback about their performance
  • I have a color coded chart of how the class did collectively allowing me to take corrective action on the spot.
  • I have that information organized in a report that can use to show the progress of each individual and the class collectively.
Socrative saves me time, gives students immediate feedback, helps me to make better, more informed decisions and, is helping me easily gather the data that the job demands.
Cross posted on

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